Nestled inside the world’s largest volcanic crater is the land of Caspak. Its jungles teaming with countless varieties of prehistoric life, and it is in this terror-fuelled land that adventurer Tom Billings must look to find his lost friend, Bowen Tyler. Edgar Rice Burroughs returns us to this mysterious world where evolution has been turned on its head.
The People That Time Forgot was first published 1918 as a three part serial for Blue Book Magazine and is a direct sequel to The Land That Time Forgot. When we last left this lost world Bowen Tyler and lovely Lys La Rue were alone on the cliffs of Caprona, where Tyler had tossed a canteen into the sea that contained a manuscript of their travails.
When the manuscript is found, an expedition is quickly mounted and is led by Tom Billings who is the secretary of the Tyler family shipbuilding company and a long-time friend of Bowen Tyler himself. Billings is your standard pulp hero; strong, intelligent, courageous but a little thick when it comes to things of the heart. They arrive off the coast of Caprona, and its seemingly insurmountable cliff walls, but not insurmountable to American ingenuity as Billings came prepared with several options for getting up those sheer cliffs; the first was in drilling steps bit by bit up the rock face, another was to fire cables via mortars to the top and scale them that way but as the height of said cliffs was higher than even he expected he must put plan three into effect which is to assemble the seaplane he brought along for just such a contingency.
Over the ice.
Cut off from his men and with no idea where Bowen Tyler or his company is Billings is forced to trudge on alone into the interior of Caspak hoping to either chance upon Tyler or find some other way down the cliff walls. As this is a pulp jungle adventure story, Billings almost immediately runs into a pretty face, a beautiful native girl named Ajor; who is running for her life from a group of Alus (Alus are the lowest evolutionary rung of men on Caspak) but with his pistol and rifle, Billings makes quick work of these Neanderthals. Ajor herself is a Galu which are the people who have achieved the highest form of evolutionary progress and are what all men of Caspak hope to someday become.
Classic cave girl cleavage.
With Ajor at his side Billings begins the long trek north to return Ajor to her people and to hopefully find some sign of Tyler. Along the way they encounter many of the primitive subhuman classes of Caspak; the club wielding Bo-Lu, the hatchet armed Sto-Lu, the spear wielding Band-Lu and the bow using Kro-Lu, each a step the evolutionary ladderm but all who seem intent to killing poor Tom on site and taking Ajor for their own. It’s on this journey we discover a little more on how evolution works here in this topsy-turvy world. It seems that each species of man all come from “the beginning” and that each individual will, over the course of seven cycles (700 years) move up the evolutionary ladder. At one point a Bo-Lu will receive the “calling” and will then leave behind his people, fashion himself a spear, and go and join the Sto-Lu. Thus the chain of evolution moves north across Caspak until eventually they end their journey as a Galu.
“As primitive as can be.”
Sadly the fascinating evolutionary biology of Caspak is pretty much abandoned when Amicus Productions translated this book to the big screen in 1977 with returning director Kevin Connor at the helm, and looking at this film it is no surprise to learn Amicus folded before the movie even got released.
If only the movie was as exciting as this poster.
“We may not have been in the book, but we suck.”
Machine gunning a slow gliding monster is apparently trickier than it looks.
Dinosaurs make no marked improvement for the sequel.
“Mongo just pawn in game of life.”
“There is a prehistoric samurai standing behind me, isn’t there?”
Either King Kong or He-Man lives here.
McBride and Tyler to the rescue!
Note: This very same year this dude was dueling with Alec Guinness in Star Wars.
Random explosions are a sure sign of volcanic instability and also poor writing.
Ajor starring in “I was a Mail Order Cave Bride.”
This was the last of the Burroughs three books adapted by Amicus Productions and one can only dream of what the third book of the Caspak Trilogy would have looked like if they hadn’t gone under. What B-Movie star would we have seen battling the winged men of Caspak?
Christopher Lee in “Out of Time’s Abyss” perhaps?